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08 Apr 15 27 Apr 15

Yemen: "Life has stopped in Aden"

More than 600 wounded people have been treated at Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders' (MSF) emergency surgical unit in Aden, Yemen, since clashes erupted on 19 March.

The violence, which has spread to Ad-Dali, Lawdar and Lahj, is making it more and more difficult for the wounded to reach hospitals as roads are often blocked and ambulances stopped, attacked and high-jacked.

Here, nurse Anees and pharmacist Liqa speak of what they have seen in Aden since the clashes began.

MSF staff tend to a wounded patient in the emergency surgical unit in Aden.

Anees, MSF Nurse

"We have to be prepared for mass casualties, as we are an emergency surgical unit. We have received many mass casualties since MSF started working here in 2012, but the situation has never been worse.

Within two weeks we have received many mass-casualties [seven mass-casualties with over 600 injured]. This huge number of patients was a shock for us, but we were able to control the situation and to act with responsibility and manage things.

I was very sad as we were receiving people from the neighbourhood of our hospital and others from my neighbourhood, as well as people I know personally.

We were receiving all those casualties and at the same time thinking of our families. Things had changed so suddenly and it was very difficult for us.

My home is relatively close to the hospital so I walk there. I am originally from Abyan and so my family do not have anyone besides me to take care of them.

Many of my relatives in Abyan call me and blame me for leaving my family alone while I go out to work, but I cannot be absent from the hospital.

I am a nurse and this is what I must do. Of course it’s difficult for me to leave my family for 12 hours, but it’s also difficult for me to not do my job as a nurse in the hospital at times like these."

MSF emergency surgical care unit in Aden, Yemen.

Liqa, MSF pharmacist

"I have not left the hospital since 19March when the clashes started. The road is too dangerous for me to use, plus there is no other pharmacist at the hospital, and so I was badly needed there.

My assistant at the pharmacy travelled before the clashes and could not return to Aden. The situation in the hospital is tiring. But as health workers we have to stay strong.

We have been able to contain the situation so far but our concern for our families makes it very stressful for us.

Life has stopped in the city and movement has become extremely dangerous, while some roads have been completely blocked. Our pharmacy stock is starting to run out and we are in desperate need of drugs and medical supplies, as well as the staff that are due to arrive and support us.

I have not seen my family since then. I can only talk to them on the phone. My family has not had access to water for two full days now and they only get electricity for a few hours. I am very worried about them."

MSF in Yemen

A map of MSF's activities in Yemen, 2013.

Find out more about MSF's work in Yemen

Learn more about MSF's work in conflict areas

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